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Elena, Palamede e l’enigma della colpa: percezione, emozione, volontà

Roberta Ioli

Abstract: Gorgias’ two speeches Encomium of Helen and Defense of Palamedes face, from different points of view, the problem of free will, deliberation and responsibility. While Palamedes is introduced as hero of the kratos, Helen can be considered as a victim of persuasion and erotic passion. My aim is to analyze Gorgias’ emphasis on sight and hearing as perceptions related to the origin of our actions: powerful perceptions can give rise to violent emotions and force people to change their nature, becoming different from what they previously were. By focusing on the Hippocratic medicine and ancient doctrines about the physiology of perception, we can shed new light on the arguments used by Gorgias in order to defend Helen overwhelmed by the seduction of logos and eros. What the Sophist is mainly interested in is the connection between perception, emotion, and our consequent disposition to act.
Keywords: Greek & Latin Literature / Classical Studies / General

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